WRAX-FM (called The X at 100.5) was an alternative rock format radio station broadcasting most recently at 100.5 MHz FM. The station, broadcast most recently at 100.5 MHz FM, was licensed to Helena and transmitted at 93 KW from an 800-foot non-directional tower near Vance (map). The station's coverage area included Tuscaloosa, Brent, Bessemer and most of the western and central Birmingham area. The station's studios were located in Citadel's local headquarters at 244 Goodwin Crest Drive on Red Mountain. The station's general manager was Dale Daniels. Dave Rossi was program director from the station's beginning until 2005. The program director since May 2006 was Steve Robison.
The call letters "WRAX" (meaning "rock alternative, the X") originated in 1996 when Dick Broadcasting bought a 6 KW station in Trussville called WWBR (105.9 FM, "The Bear"). Dick changed format from album-oriented rock/active rock to modern rock/alternative rock, and called the new format "106 the X". Upbeat British-accented DJ "Luka" developed a following for her afternoon show.
In 1998, WRAX switched frequencies with another Dick station, the 100 KW WENN (107.7 FM "107-7 the X"). Luka was let go and morning radio team Beaner and Ken debuted on the X that year and became one of the most popular morning teams in the Birmingham market. They duo split in summer 2001, with "Beaner" (Guy Patton) moving to a station in Washington D.C.
A new morning duo, Tuttle and Kline, debuted in early 2002.
During the height of its popularity, the X was the second-highest rated station in Birmingham and one of the highest-rated alternative stations in the United States. DJ Scott Register's "Reg's Coffee House" program on Sundays introduced Birmingham listeners to hundreds of new artists, many of which then made program director Rossi's regular rotation. Several regional and national bands, such as Matchbox Twenty, Train, Creed, Sister Hazel, Vertical Horizon and John Mayer were boosted by the X's promotional efforts.
From 1998 to 2004 the station released a series of seven albums featuring live performances under the name Live in the X Lounge. Profits from the hot-selling CDs benefited United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham. A series of multi-bill annual concerts called "X Fests" were organized by the station. The X also helped sponsor City Stages and the Schaeffer Crawfish Boil, for which it also assisted with booking acts.
Luka returned to the X in August, 2004. In March 2005, Citadel changed the station's frequency again, moving to 100.5, the former home of WANZ, which had been competing as an alternative rock station until it was acquired from Apex Broadcasting by Citadel. Among the changes were the hiring Susan Groves as program director, followed later by Ken Wall, who ended the station's partnership with City Stages and the Crawfish Boil, suspended the "Live in the X Lounge" CDs, and made clear in a now-infamous memo to the staff that "We are not in the business of breaking new music." (Geiss - Feb 2006 and Dec 2006)
WANZ, meanwhile, had reintroduced the Beaner and Ken show in 2004. Patton moved to Syracuse, New York the following year, but continued to collaborate with Ken long-distance for airing in both markets. After Citadel moved the X to 100.5, they took over the syndication of Beaner and Ken, returning the show to the Birmingham market. Tuttle and Kline relocated to a Texas sation. The power and range of the 100.5 signal was much less than 107.7 and the X's ratings took a blow from which the station never recovered.
Various format tweaks were tried before Citadel brought in Robison, most recently from Houston's KTBZ-FM. On Tuesday November 28, station employees were informed that the X was ceasing operations and that WJOX, an AM sports talk station, would be using the 100.5 frequency.
WWBR (album rock)
1996 - 1997
WENN (urban music)
WENN (urban music)
1998 - 2005
WUHT (urban adult contemporary)
WANZ (modern rock)
2005 - 2006
WJOX simulcast (sports talk)
- Weekday/Saturday mornings: Beaner and Ken, Tuttle & Kline
- Weekday mid-days: Mark A. D.
- Weekday afternoons: Luka, Steve Robison, Hurricane Shane
- Weekday/Saturday evenings: Amber
- Sunday late-mornings: Reg's Coffee House
- Saturday mid-day: Geno
- Sunday evenings: Coyote J.
- Weekends: Michael Vance
- "WRAX." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 15 Nov 2006, 05:10 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 29 Nov 2006 .
- Carlton, Bob (March 18, 2005) "Beaner and Ken are coming back to The X." Birmingham News.
- Geiss, Chuck (February 9, 2006) "Naked Birmingham" Publishers Notebook. Black & White.
- Carlton, Bob (May 21, 2006) "Program director hopes to revive the X at 100.5". Birmingham News.
- Carlton, Bob (November 29, 2006) "Alternative to sign off at 100.5 FM". Birmingham News.
- Geiss, Chuck (December 14, 2006) "Naked Birmingham" Publisher's Notebook. Black & White.